Do you ever wish it was easier to simply remember a person’s name?
Or, maybe you just wish you could recall where you left your keys. Or, wouldn’t it be fun to rack up a few points at trivia night?
Good news - healthy foods and supplements can help improve your memory!
Did you know that, in addition to being a function of your mind, memory is also a function of your body? According to a recent MIT study, it’s possible that memories are stored in brain cells themselves.1 These cells can stimulate groups of neurons in order to recall a memory, and the neurons then form new synapses. The more complex the process is, the greater the length of time we can retain that memory. Memories might also be stored outside of the brain in cells located throughout the rest of our bodies.2
The body stores all types of “memories”, some of them simple and others highly complex. Many of them are critical to our survival.
Consider this quote from ScienceDaily: “The cells in our bodies can divide as often as once every 24 hours, creating a new, identical copy. DNA binding proteins called transcription factors are required for maintaining cell identity. They ensure that daughter cells have the same function as their mother cell, so that for example muscle cells can contract or pancreatic cells can produce insulin.” 3
This process occurs all over the body for different purposes. For example, how does your body “know” how to fight disease? Cells within the immune system called memory T cells can “learn” and “remember” how to fight an infection.4 This important communication process within T cells occurs through proteins and other chemicals passing from cell to cell.5
So, your mind and body are constantly working to keep your memory primed to help you remember where you left your keys, as well as how to stay healthy. By simply choosing healthy foods, and supportive supplements, you can help boost your ability to remember all things, the big ones, and the small ones.
Here are a few foods that improve memory. And the good news is they taste great, too!
6 Memory Boosting Foods That Support Brain Health and The Immune System
1. Foods that contain VITAMIN E: Vitamin E is an antioxidant found in olive oil, avocados, sunflower seeds, peanuts, and almonds. Vitamin E seems to be more effective in food form rather than as a supplement, and it may help protect the neurons in the brain.6 It also boosts the immune system to fight off viruses and is vital to communication between cells.
2. FISH: Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish support the healthy functioning of the neurons in the brain.
3. LEAFY GREENS: Broccoli, spinach, and kale help to break down an amino acid called homocysteine. High levels of homocysteine are thought to trigger the death of nerve cells in the brain.7 Broccoli is also high in Vitamins A and C, which are useful for fighting off the flu. And spinach is “loaded with Lutein, Folate, and Beta-Carotene…nutrients [that] have been linked with preventing dementia.”8 Serve up a simple spinach salad tonight, and sprinkle it with an olive oil-based dressing and sunflower seeds. It’s an easy and tasty summertime side! Pair it with a piece of broiled salmon, and you have an ideal memory-boosting meal.
4. GARLIC: It not only helps fight infections, but garlic also lowers blood pressure. Bonus: garlic can combat the common cold!10
5. BERRIES: Blueberries, strawberries, and acai berries, “help get rid of toxic proteins that are associated with age-related memory loss.”9 Blueberries are also thought to be a memory booster.
6. WHOLE GRAINS: High blood pressure reduces blood flow to the brain. Oatmeal, along with other whole grains and seeds, is connected to a heart-healthy diet and lower blood pressure. Here are a few great morning oatmeal recipes. For a power breakfast, sprinkle a few of those memory-boosting blueberries on your oatmeal!
And, of course, exercise is always a good idea. Exercise specifically increases blood flow to the brain and keeps those nutrients flowing throughout the body.
5 Memory Supplements to Help Improve Your Brain Health
Along with exercise and sleep, taking supplements has been shown to support brain health and memory. Here are 5 natural ingredients that highlight, nature works, while science proves it: Bacopa, Ginkgo Biloba, Huperzine A, Phosphatidylserine, and Vinpocetine.
1. Bacopa, also know as Brahmi, is a plant found in tropical and subtropical environments that has been traditionally used in ayurvedic medicine to calm the nervous system and to enhance mental function. Studies have also shown that Bacopa might be capable of increasing certain brain chemicals that are involved in thinking, learning, and memory. Some research suggests that it might also protect brain cells from chemicals involved in Alzheimer's disease.11
2. Ginkgo Biloba, also known as maidenhair, is one of the oldest living tree species and has a long history of use in supporting circulation and memory. As an antioxidant, it improves blood flow to the brain and is being studied as an ingredient that may help to prevent the advance of symptoms linked to Alzheimer’s.12
3. Huperzine A or as we like to call it, Hup-A, is an extract found in a species of moss that is native to India. Huperzine A is a supplement that supports cognition, memory and learning enhancement, and age-related memory impairment. We have a chemical in our brain called acetylcholine (a learning neurotransmitter) that our nerves use to communicate in the brain and throughout our body. Huperzine A supports an increase in acetylcholine, thus leading to healthy brain functions, memory, and concentration.13
4. Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid and a component of cell membranes that is produced naturally by the body. This molecule is a key building block for the billions of cells in your brain and plays a central role in maintaining cellular function. It also supports recall and contributes to improved thinking skills. It is found in high amounts in fish, but can also be taken as a supplement.14
5. Vinpocetine, also known as Vinpocetina, is a derivative of an alkaloid (an organic compound) found in the periwinkle plant. It has been reported to enhance cerebral blood-flow, have neuroprotective effects, and reduce neural inflammation. Research is still underway to support the possibility that Vinpocetine promotes memory.15
Learn More About Brain Health and Memory
Healthy foods, healthy minds, healthy cells. If the idea of cell memory has stirred up your appetite for more information, here are some links where you can feed your curiosity:
- Learn more about memory
- Learn more about brain health and the immune system
- Learn more about immune system memory
Do you have any suggestions for keeping your mind and your immune system in tip-top shape? Connect with us on Facebook and share. We'd love to hear from you.
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